Original article written by Chase Cavanaugh for Northern Public Radio on 3/5/2019. Link to the original article can be found HERE
A bill expanding MAP grants to prospective teachers is making its way through the Illinois General Assembly.
MAP grants are based on financial need and do not need to be repaid. Currently, they provide funding for students in financial need for their first four years in college, or up to 135 academic credit hours. House Bill 3364 would expand that pool to include graduates attempting to earn a teaching certificate or license.
Republican State Rep. Jeff Keicher introduced the bill, and says it’s needed to avoid a staffing crisis.
“We have a number of Baby boomers who are on the verge of retirement,” he said. “We have a number of educational institutions that will be caught with a teacher shortage if we don’t act soon enough to have people ready to fill those roles.”
Keicher says the bill will simply expand the eligibility pool for MAP grant recipients, rather than adding additional money to the program. Nevertheless, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposed education budget includes an additional $50 million for MAP grants. Keicher also says Democrats have responded favorably to his measure.
“I received a request from Representative [Chris] Welch and Representative [Jonathan] Carroll to sign on to the bill as well, so that’s obviously very favorable that we have bipartisan support,” he said.
The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee and awaiting assignment to a more specialized committee for further consideration. Keicher hopes that will happen by the end of next week.